Lok Sabha elections 2019: Past performance propels seat-sharing pact of SP, BSP
The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which announced their seat sharing plan in Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on Thursday, have distributed most of the seats based on their own past performances in the constituencies, a Hindustan Times analysis shows.
Out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in the state, the BSP will contest 38 and the SP 37. The third partner in their alliance, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), is expected to contest three seats. None of the alliance partners will field a candidate in the two traditional Congress strongholds of Amethi and Rae Bareli, which are represented by party president Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
In the 38 seats the BSP will contest, it had a higher overall vote share than the SP in both 2009 and 2014 elections. It also won a higher share of these seats in 2009. The BSP did not win any Lok Sabha seat in UP in the 2014 elections.
In the 37 seats the SP will contest, its seat share was higher than the BSP’s in the 2009 election although its vote share was not. In these seats, the SP had a higher overall vote share in 2014 than the BSP, and all the five seats it won came from this region.(See chart)
To be sure, at the Parliamentary Constituency level, the arithmetic isn’t perfect. There are 26 seats in which the alliance partner contesting them had a lower vote share than the other in 2014. This figure was 31 in 2009. The median vote share difference in the 26 seats in 2014 was four percentage points. This figure was nine percentage points in the 31 such seats in 2009.
The SP and the BSP decided to contest the election together in order to consolidate votes against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won 71 out of the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh in 2014. In terms of vote share in 2009 and 2014, the BJP was stronger in the seats the SP will contest this time around than in the seats the BSP will contest. However, in terms of seat share, this was true only in 2009.
There are 17 scheduled caste reserved Lok Sabha constituencies in Uttar Pradesh and, according to the seat-sharing agreement, the BSP will contest 10 of them. Seats reserved for scheduled castes have a relatively higher share of the Dalit population. The seat distribution shows that the alliance is looking to make gains in reserved seats on the BSP’s pro-Dalit image.
Out of the 63 unreserved seats, the SP will contest 30 while the BSP will contest 28. The RLD will contest three of the remaining five seats.
An earlier HT analysis had shown that a simple addition of SP and BSP votes in 2014 would have won it 41 of the 80 seats in the state. The seat distribution shows that the BSP would have won 23 of them and the SP the other 18.